Japanese PM arrives in South Korea on ‘historic visit’

Abdul-Jabbar Aburas / Anatolia

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida arrived Sunday in the South Korean capital, Seoul, on a historic two-day visit.

This is the first visit by a Japanese leader in more than 5 years, and comes at a time when the two countries seek to improve relations between them amid growing security threats in East Asia.

After arriving in South Korea, the Japanese prime minister visited the national cemetery in Seoul, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap

A diplomatic source described Kishida’s visit to the national cemetery as “an expression of his desire to accelerate the improvement of relations between South Korea and Japan and to enhance cooperation in various fields, such as security,” according to Yonhap.

According to Japan’s Kyodo News Agency, it is likely during the summit between the Japanese and Korean leaders Yoon Sok-yul to agree to deepen security relations between Tokyo and Seoul to address North Korea’s nuclear and missile developments.

The agency said Kishida, who is scheduled to host the G7 summit in Hiroshima later this month, is also keen on reconciliation with South Korea, as the United States, its close ally, has become more wary of the security situation in Asia.

Bilateral relations between the two countries reached their lowest point in decades under the leftist administration of former President Moon Jae-in over a slew of issues in Japan’s wartime, including a dispute over workers’ compensation.

However, bilateral relations improved significantly following Seoul’s decision in March to compensate wartime Korean victims of forced labor without contributions from Japanese companies.

Last March, the South Korean president stressed the need to improve relations between South Korea and Japan, describing the solution to the issue of compensating forced labor victims as a decisive decision for the future.

It is noteworthy that Seoul announced its decision to compensate Korean victims of forced labor through a foundation supported by donations from South Korean companies.

It is worth noting that hundreds of thousands of Koreans were recruited during the Japanese colonization of Korea between 1910 and 1945 to work as forced labor in dozens of Japanese companies, under harsh conditions.

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